Kick-starting the campaigning for third phase of polling for Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections 2017, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday lashed out at Chief Akhilesh Yadav saying “On March 4, 1984, Mulayam Singh was attacked by Congress party. Then leaders like Chaudhari Charan Singh and Atal Bihari Vajpayee organised a movement to protect Mulayam Singh from the Congress. But now Akhilesh has joined hands with Congress.” Addressing a rally in Kannauj, which is the Parliamentary constituency of Dimple Yadav, the wife of Akhilesh, the PM also took a dig at the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, “Have you heard of such a son who would unite with a party that tried to kill his father.” 69 constituencies will go to polls in third phase of voting which will be held on February 19.
The second phase of polling for Uttar Pradesh Assembly Elections 2017 began today after high-pitched campaigns by competing parties. There are 67 out of 403 Assembly seats up for grabs in the western part of the state in this phase. While Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah led the campaign for the BJP, UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi led the campaign for newly formed SP-Congress alliance. The duo countered PM Modi’s every claim against the sitting Samajwadi Party government in the state and also questioned his many policies for the country. Their most scathing remarks were reserved for PM Modi’s demonetisation decision.
Watch this video
After the first phase of the polls, PM Modi upped the ante against Akhilesh government’s record and said spared Mayawati during the campaign which ended on Monday. This was interesting for political observers as Shah considers SP-Congress to be BJP’s main competitor in the remaining five phases, not in this phase. BSP chief Mayawati was also nowhere behind other competitors during the campaign. There is also a fourth competitor in this phase — Rashtriya Lok Dal led by Ajit Singh. With the considerable presence of Jats in the region, RLD’s popularity may dent the prospects of other parties, especially the BJP. While all parties claim they are positioned better than the rest, the key to their fortunes lie with the voters.
The Election Commission has barred political parties and candidates from publishing advertisements in newspapers today and tomorrow without its approval. The EC has asked them to get the advertisements pre-certified from the Media Certification and Monitoring Committee at the state and district levels before their publication. The poll body said the decision has been taken in view of past instances of advertisements of offending and misleading nature in print media on such occasions which vitiate the elections.
The first phase of UP polls in 73 assembly seats in UP witnessed 64.22 per cent turnout on February 11. The other five phases will be held on February 19, 23 and 27 and on March 4 and 8.